Salesforce Partners Look To Catch A Wave Of Analytics Opportunities channel partners say the next big wave of their Salesforce-related business is, well, Wave.

Wave is the business analytics platform Salesforce launched at its Dreamforce conference in October and is the foundation for the company's Analytics Cloud service. While the company isn't disclosing sales numbers for Analytics Cloud -- and it's undoubtedly small given that it's been available for only six months -- Salesforce executives and the company's ISV and consultant partners see some serious momentum for the nascent service offering.

"This is a huge market. It is an enormous market. And we clearly see this as a large play," said Salesforce President Keith Block in a keynote speech Thursday at the World Tour event in Boston. He said the company was closing "large deals" for the service within two weeks of its launch.

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Salesforce pitches its cloud sales, marketing, service and community applications as a "customer engagement" bundle with the analytics application a natural addition. "Systems of engagement drive growth, and a natural extension of systems of engagement are systems of intelligence," Block said.

That's resonating with solution providers such as Blue Wolf, one of Salesforce's largest consulting channel partners. "The demand is pretty significant," said Adam Bataran, senior director of strategy and analytics, in an interview at the Salesforce event.

The major opportunity is for solution providers to offer Analytics Cloud to customers who have already implemented other Salesforce applications for managing customer relationships, Bataran said. While many businesses already have business intelligence tools, even from multiple vendors, Analytics Cloud's close tie to other Salesforce apps is a key selling point.

"The next logical step is getting to know your customers better," Bataran said of the demand for actionable customer intelligence. He also praised the cloud software's "mobile-first" design, its flexible user interface and its speed.

In addition to more traditional implementation and integration work, Analytics Cloud is creating consulting opportunities for partners in customer retention and business process management, said Eric Heine, a Blue Wolf managing director.

Earlier this week Salesforce announced that solution providers Anaplan and Host Analytics had joined the Analytics Cloud ecosystem. San Francisco-based Anaplan is adding Analytics Cloud to its business planning and execution applications lineup. Host Analytics, based in Redwood City, Calif., provides cloud-based financial and reporting applications.

"The Salesforce Sales Cloud already feeds actuals into Anaplan models and plans, and now with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, we can deliver planning insights to every Salesforce user," said Anthony Reynolds, Anaplan executive vice president of operations, in a statement. "This better connects and aligns an organization with their plans and performance drivers."

"The combination of purpose-built cloud planning applications from Host Analytics and real-time insights of the Analytics Cloud put companies in a position to take planning and performance to the next level," said Dave Kellog, Host Analytics CEO, also in a statement.

All this comes as Salesforce, which surpassed $5 billion in annual sales in fiscal 2015 (ended Jan. 31), continues to expand its partner ecosystem of consulting and systems integration partners and ISV partners.

"We want to have the largest cloud ecosystem in the world," Block said at a news conference after his keynote Thursday. On the ISV side alone the company now says it has more than 2,700 partner applications that work with the Salesforce platform.

About half of Salesforce's sales involve a partner, said Tyler Prince, the company's executive vice president of worldwide alliances and channels, in an interview at the Boston event. While that includes solution providers in some international regions like Latin America and Europe, partners in North America are largely system integrator-consultants and ISVs.

Salesforce, based in San Francisco, continues to recruit new partners in both categories, Prince said, as well as working to grow sales through existing partners.

Salesforce also plans to expand its software offerings for more specific verticals. Prince said that might be accomplished by either adding capabilities to the vendor's own software or by working with partners in specific vertical industries.